Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

134 INTERVIEW Cruising with connectivity confidence Greg Martin and Simon Maher tell Rebecca Gibson how SES is pushing the performance limits of satellite communication technology to provide fast, secure and reliable connectivity to cruise ships What constitutes a good cruise? For some guests, the answer is the opportunity to relax and nurture their wellbeing onboard a luxurious vessel, whereas others are looking for family-friendly activities, an adventurous expedition, or the ability to work remotely while travelling the world. Every guest has different expectations when it comes to aspects such as food, service, entertainment, interior design, amenities, itineraries and pricing. However, there is one aspect of the modern onboard experience where their expectations are uniform: they all want fast, reliable and uninterrupted connectivity. “Over the past decade, connectivity has become both a key aspect of any cruise offering and a significant source of onboard revenue,” says Greg Martin, vice president of maritime and cruise products at connectivity solutions provider SES. “And as every cruise executive knows, passengers demand no-hassle, easy-to-use and consistent connectivity – whether it’s to share photographs and videos with friends and family back home, stream movies, keep up with their favourite shows and TV series, play games or securely contact work colleagues. “Much like they take it for granted that the ship will have oil for the engines or a sufficient stock of food and drink, guests assume this connectivity will be ubiquitous: always on, fast, seamless and secure. And they expect it on every ship at every price point – from the first moment they step onboard.” However, delivering that connectivity to hundreds – or potentially thousands – of people onboard a cruise ship sailing at sea poses major technical challenges. “Each cruise ship is like a city at sea, a vibrant consumer economy built on “ Passengers demand nohassle, easy-to-use and consistent connectivity” Greg Martin Photo: iStockphoto/apomares